The following text is reprinted with permission from Promundo’s new report, Getting to Equal: Men, Gender Equality, and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.
Men’s participation in antenatal visits has increased over time in low- and middle-income countries (see Figure). The large number of countries that experienced significant upward trends in men’s participation in antenatal visits is revealing, reflecting policy, institutional, and cultural changes. Men’s willingness to participate and opportunities to do so are both important achievements, since neither a cultural role for participating fathers nor institutional arrangements to make that possible in clinical settings were historically widespread.
A strong commitment in national policy to men’s roles in maternal health likely contributed to participation rates in Cambodia, which rose from 83 percent to 91 percent between 2010 and 2014.307 Timor-Leste follows, having risen from 61 percent to 81 percent from 2009 to 2016. Ethiopia showed one of the most rapid rates of change, rising from 42 percent to 64 percent before falling back to 52 percent, for an overall increase. Burundi figured among the countries that showed large increases, rising from 18 percent in 2010 to 43 percent in 2017. Policies like Brazil’s national men’s health program, described above, can encourage male participation in maternal health, family planning, HIV testing and treatment, and engaged fatherhood.